Kindergarten and Reception start the children on their exciting learning journey with all its adventures, discoveries, challenges, achievements and advantages for life. The Early Years follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum.
The EYFS has seven, interconnected areas of learning and development. Three prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive. The prime areas are:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (making relationships, self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour)
- Physical Development (moving and handling, health and self-care)
- Communication and Language (listening and attention, understanding and speaking)
The additional four specific areas are:
- Literacy (reading and writing)
- Mathematics (numbers, shape and measure)
- Understanding the World (people and communities, the world, technology)
- Expressive Arts and Design (exploring and using media and materials, being imaginative).
The EYFS recognises three main areas that encompass the characteristics of effective learning. These are:
- Playing and Exploring (engagement) – children finding out and exploring, playing with what they know and being willing to “have a go”.
- Active learning (motivation) – children being involved and concentrating, keeping trying and enjoying achieving what they set out to do.
- Creating and thinking critically (thinking) – children having their own ideas, making links and choosing ways to do things.
The Rowans strives to embrace these characteristics by reflective planning using both the indoor and outdoor provision. We place great importance on taking into account the children’s own views and interests to ensure that their learning and development opportunities at school are always meaningful and fun.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development is central to our everyday teaching and is addressed in assemblies, within classes through planned circle times and on an ad-hoc basis driven by the needs of the children.
Movement, health and body awareness and skills for handling tools and equipment and taught as part of Physical Development. PE lessons, taught by a specialist teacher, are structured to teach co-ordination and control. These lessons take place on the tennis court area or outside on the grass area or within the School Hall. Opportunities to develop fine motor skills such as cutting and pencil control are provided as part of our daily provision and health awareness is promoted through discussions about food, exercise, hygiene and safety, both in the classroom.
Communication and Language development is at the heart of every interaction from the moment the children enter school. It involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment, to speak and understand in a range of situations, and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
We introduce Literacy through a structured programme of communication, phonics, reading and writing.
Children are given opportunities to learn about Mathematics through a range of practical activities, such as counting games, addition and subtraction tasks, shape sorting, shopping games, pattern making and measuring.
Understanding the World introduces children to exploration and investigation to help make sense of their physical world and community and provides opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design includes exploring different media and materials, participating in a variety of activities in art, design and technology, and developing imaginative play as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings. Children develop the confidence to perform in Christmas plays, the Summer concert and in assemblies as well as through lessons delivered by an experienced music teacher.
The EYFS is based around four themes:
A unique child – every child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
Positive relationships – children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
Enabling environments – the environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning and we plan to give children opportunities to learn within the classrooms, in the playground and within the school grounds.
Learning and development – children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.